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Cooking With Beef Mince? Here’s What You Need To Know

25th April 2019

Versatile and thrifty, beef mince is a wonderful staple ingredient for everything from weekday meals to barbecue burgers. Farmdrop Recipe Developer, Alice King, tells us what to look out for when buying beef mince, whether to use lean, regular and high-fat mince and how to use them in her favourite recipes, from ultimate burgers to spag bol.

how to cook with beef mince

Get 20% off pasture-fed, native breed beef mince at farmdrop.com this week

You might have seen that the beef mince you buy can vary in fat content, from just 5% to a generous 25% fat. The reason they differ is down to the cut that is minced; fattier cuts naturally mean you’ll get mince that is higher in fat, while leaner cuts like skirt will produce low-fat mince.

What type of beef mince should I buy?

While it can be tempting to go for the lowest fat option, it’s worth noting that different fat contents can work better for different dishes. It’s a well known culinary fact that fat equals flavour in cooking; as fat melts when heated, its flavour permeates throughout your cooking, while also keeping your meat nice and juicy. If you want the perfect burger, the higher the fat content the better, for example. 

Beef mince made from pasture-fed cattle that has been hung for at least four weeks means it’s naturally going to be full of flavour. I recommend using quality beef mince so that you can keep the rest of the dish very simple, letting all that incredible flavour do the talking.

Below are my favourite ways to cook with beef mince of varying fat content:

The perfect burger: 25% fat

This high concentration of fat is especially good for making burgers. The high fat content will bind the meat better, and mean that there is no need to add oil when pan frying, grilling or barbecuing. As the fat melts it will crisp up the outside of the burger and melt through the middle to give flavour and to keep it tender.

beef burger recipe

When making burgers, it’s totally true that less is more. You don’t need to add lots of different herbs and spices. Let the high quality beef do the talking; in our recipe for the ultimate burger, you only need to add softened onions and garlic, as well as breadcrumbs and an egg yolk to help bind it all together.

A good all-rounder: 20% and 15 % fat

beef meatballs recipe

While a high fat content is great for cooking burgers over a hot grill, anything between 15% and 20% is a good all-rounder. It still has enough fat that it won’t dry out in slow-cooked dishes, but you don’t need such a high fat content if you’re trying to stay on the healthier side.

Try turning this beef mince into meatballs. Browning the meatballs before baking them gives extra flavour, and coating them in a tomato sauce as they cook helps keep them nice and juicy. It will also work wonderfully in our spaghetti bolognese recipe, this Sloppy Joe burger, a bubbling cottage pie or lasagne. Or how about frying it up with a few spices, chopped garlic and onions and serving in lettuce cups for a nice summery appetiser.

Everyday healthy: 5% fat

spaghetti bol recipe

For when you are looking to include beef in a low-fat diet, this mince has all the nutritional protein benefits and has a small amount of fat. While it won’t be as packed with flavour as your full-fat mince, it’s worth noting that by buying pasture-fed quality beef, the flavour will naturally be better than if you’re buying beef mince from factory farmed cows.

Use 5% beef mince if you still want to enjoy your meatballs or bolognese but in a healthier way. Just be wary when cooking that this mince will dry out quicker than higher fat content mince. Keep an eye on it and make sure you don’t over-cook it to avoid tough, tasteless results. 

Get 20% off pasture-fed, native breed beef mince at farmdrop.com. Offer ends this week.

What’s the difference between pasture-fed and grain-fed beef? Here’s everything you need to know.

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